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Khalid Abdullah of Waverly, Virginia, has been charged with using a vehicle without the owner’s authorization and trespassing, according to arrest warrants.

Man Steals Repo'd Car

A Waverly, Virginia, man stands accused of stealing a repossessed car from a Penniman tow yard.

Khalid Abdullah has been charged with using a vehicle without the owner's authorization and trespassing, according to arrest warrants.

On Dec. 26 around 2 p.m., York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office deputies were called to Walkers Recovery, a property repossession company, for a report of a stolen car.

An employee told deputies he contacted the former owner of a repossessed vehicle so that the man could come to the tow yard to retrieve personal property from the vehicle.

The man, Abdullah, never came to pick up his property. Instead, he was dropped off at Walkers Recovery by an unspecified person and drove away in his repossessed Hyundai Elantra, court filings said.

When contacted by police, Abdullah told the deputies his car was stolen by Walkers Recovery.

Deputies determined the car was lawfully repossessed by Walkers Recovery. Abdullah was charged and arrested on Dec. 26 and faces as much as two years behind bars and $5,000 in fines.


'Disconnect' Between Agents and Lenders

With auto loan delinquency rates rising, it would seem to be a good time to be a repossessor. But that's not the case, according to an article that appeared in Auto Finance News magazine.

In an article titled, "Coming Unhooked: The Growing Disconnect Between Lenders and Repo Agents," the magazine mentions costs for repossessors, such as tow truck and vehicle insurance prices, are rising, lenders are seeking to reduce their loss-mitigation costs by trimming repossession fees.

"Combined, these factors have put the squeeze on repossession companies and led hundreds of agencies to shut down," the article states.

The effects of repo agencies' intensifying struggle to build profits will reverberate through the auto finance industry, said Michael Levison, chief executive of repossession management firm ALS Resolvion.

"The most important key to your loss-mitigation effort is a healthy repo agent community," said Levison at his company's Innovations in Recovery Summit last September. "Without that, our success rates are going to fall. Prices are probably going to go up." Lenders and repossession companies, however, are starting to reevaluate the way they work and experimenting with new business models.

The article also points out how expenses have climbed for repossession companies in the past decade, while compliance requirements have stiffened. Big lenders, such as Hyundai Capital America and Wells Fargo Auto, have transitioned to using forwarders rather than direct one-to-one contact with repo firms which repo firms prefer, the article stated.


Wrong Turn Begets [b]Charges for Repo Agent

A repo agent was due in court recently to answer charges stemming from a vehicle he repossessed the day after Christmas.

Lawrence W. Worsley, 38, of Albion, New York, told police he works for a company called Nosugref Recovery and he had just repossessed a Nissan Murano from a Ransomville resident, who reportedly removed the vehicle's license plates.

En route to Buffalo with the vehicle, Worsley told police he took a wrong turn and ended up on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, headed into Canada.

Turning back, he was stopped by Customs and Border Protection agents for not having license plates. A secondary inspection then turned up a small amount of marijuana inside the vehicle, according to reports. Worsley was charged with four unspecified infractions, police said.


Repossession Leads to [b]High-Speed Chase

A repo agent had an unexpected ride on the side of a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox that he was attempting to repossess in Warren, Ohio, on Dec. 10 as the owner of the car drove off in the vehicle, according to a police report.

Matthew O. Allen told police he went to pick up the already running Equinox when the owner appeared on the passenger side, jumped over the center console into the driver's seat and began driving away. Allen said he was dragged for a few feet before letting go of the side of the SUV, according to the report.

Allen jumped into his Chevrolet pickup and followed the vehicle. As he drove, Allen called police, informing them what was happening and where the two vehicles were located.

Officers eventually found the two vehicles; but because police considered the repossession to be a civil matter, the owner of the Equinox was allowed to keep the vehicle.


Lender to Pay $734K to [b]Victimized Customers

A Connecticut automobile lender will provide $733,925 in debt relief and refunds to resolve allegations that it facilitated the sale of defective vehicles by certain Massachusetts used car dealerships, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Dec. 27.

In the assurance of discontinuance, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Sensible Auto Lending LLC has agreed to provide relief for consumers who purchased vehicles at F&R Auto, which entered into a consent judgment with the AG's Office over its deceptive sales practices, and three other Massachusetts dealerships.

"This settlement will give consumers victimized by these dealerships a clean slate by refunding them for faulty cars and repairing their credit," said AG Healey. "Sensible Auto has also changed its business practices so that consumers are protected from fraud in the future."

The AG's investigation found that Sensible facilitated the dealerships' sale of defective and inoperable vehicles by supplying the dealerships with financing, despite knowing of consumer complaints against the dealerships and of their high default and repossession rates.

Under the terms of the settlement, Sensible will provide refunds to certain consumers, including those who purchased a vehicle from F&R Auto, complained of mechanical defects, and lost their vehicle to repossession.

Sensible will also waive all outstanding deficiency obligations for the hundreds of consumers who purchased vehicles from F&R Auto and the three other dealerships and will repair these consumers' credit with credit reporting agencies. Sensible will refund interest payments to consumers where the company misused VSI claims.


Florida AG Sues [b]Marlin Financial

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's office is suing online auto lender Marlin Financial for what it says are unfair and deceptive trade practices.

In a civil lawsuit filed in late November, the state's legal arm alleged that an add-on the lender said was optional "was in fact a mandatory feature of loans made to consumers." That add-on, known as a "debt cancellation product," was marketed to customers as an insurance-like product that would wipe out a customer's remaining debt if their car was totaled. Instead it dramatically increased the cost of the loans.

Representatives for the Miami-based lender had not returned a request for comment at press time.

The AG considers the debt cancellation product mandatory, the lawsuit says, because of the conditions a customer had to meet to decline it and still take out a loan. A customer would need to have pre-paid, full comprehensive and collision auto insurance with a deductible of no more than $250 for the lender to agree to waive debt cancellation.

Because the product is a condition of taking out a loan with Marlin, the company should have included the fee for it in its calculation of the loan's interest rate, which Marlin did not, the lawsuit says. Marlin also charged interest on the debt cancellation "as if it were part of the financing agreement."

This led to some customers' cars being improperly repossessed and later sold, the lawsuit says, as customers defaulted when they could not make their high payments.

The attorney general is asking for a $10,000 penalty for every unfair and deceptive trade practices act, and $15,000 for instances that affected senior citizens.

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